Belfast Telegraph

Kris Meeke happy to have champion Ogier on board at Citroen

By Sammy Hamill

Kris Meeke has said he would be happy to have world champion Sebastien Ogier as his Citroen team-mate next season following Volkswagen's shock decision to withdraw from the 2017 series.

The future of the four-time champion and his team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen has been the subject of intense speculation since VW dropped their bombshell 10 days ago, but now Meeke has said Ogier would be welcome at Citroen where he began his career.

"I would have no problem if Sebastien came back. I haven't discussed this with the team, but from a personal perspective I'd maybe prefer to have him in the same team rather than in a car which might be perceived to be better.

"It would be a more level playing field," he told Autosport magazine.

The Dungannon driver, winner of the Portuguese and Finnish rounds of the World Championship this season, is scheduled to lead the Citroen team into next year's series when a new generation of WRC cars will be introduced. Circuit of Ireland winner Craig Breen and young Frenchman Stephane Lefebvre have also been signed as part of their three-car team.

But Citroen Racing boss Yves Matton has said he would be open to discussions with Ogier although he stressed they had not been in contact.

"I haven't talked to Yves about this at all, but for me I don't mind if any one of the three VW drivers come to the team," said Meeke, who has been testing the new C3 in Wales this week.

"I had some issues over a couple of the potential drivers for next year - I was a bit worried they could be disruptive in the team - but that's not the case with Ogier, Latvala or Mikkelsen. Those guys are ready to roll their sleeves up and get stuck in.

"I texted Sebastien and told him I was sorry for what had happened and that, regardless of what car, I would love to see him on the start line in Monte Carlo in January."

Belfast Telegraph


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